Author: Leila Rasheed
Series: 2nd (Cinders and Sapphires)
Published: January 7th 2014 by Disney-Hyperion
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Description: A house divided...London is a whirl of balls and teas, alliances and rivalries. Rose has never felt more out of place. With the Season in full swing, she can't help but still feel a servant dressed up in diamonds and silk. Then Rose meets Alexander Ross, a young Scottish duke. Rose has heard the rumors about Ross's sordid past just like everyone else has. Yet he alone treats her as a friend. Rose knows better than to give her heart to an aristocrat with such a reputation, but it may be too late. Ada should be happy. She is engaged to a handsome man who shares her political passions and has promised to support her education. So why does she feel hollow inside? Even if she hated Lord Fintan, she would have no choice but to go through with the marriage. Every day a new credit collector knocks on the door of their London flat, demanding payment for her cousin William's expenditures. Her father's heir seems determined to bring her family to ruin, and only a brilliant marriage can save Somerton Court and the Averleys' reputation. Meanwhile, at Somerton, Sebastian is out of his mind with worry for his former valet Oliver, who refuses to plead innocent to the murder charges against him--for a death caused by Sebastian himself. Sebastian will do whatever he can to help the boy he loves, but his indiscretion is dangerous fodder for a reporter with sharp eyes and dishonorable intentions.
I Give This ...
I really enjoyed the first book in the series. I'm not as familiar with this time period in England, so I like immersing myself in new details. This series seems to have just enough scandal, intrigue, aristocracy, beautiful dresses, and romance. However, this book seemed a little dragged down by the details. The end almost made up for all that though.
My first problem lies with the fact that there are a lot of characters in this book, plus two separate locations. It hasn't been that long since I read the first one, but I really had to set myself straight on who was who. I couldn't remember who were the actually related, who were stepchildren, and how all the other characters fit together at first. I eventually figured it out, but I think the book could have benefited from some little refresher. There was also a lot of scenes that didn't really seem to move the story forward that much. Scenes at various balls, dress shops, etc just seemed to fill the pages. Some of them had little details that I enjoyed that connected the story together, but overall were not important.
I did enjoy Rose's Season debut. I can't imagine going from servant to debutante and having to endure the whispers, etc. Perhaps that's why she occasionally acted like she did around Alexander. I think she was so use to defending herself that she forgot that things are always what they appear and sometimes words spoken aren't what was meant. I forgave her though, because it didn't take her long to realize her errors.
The other characters definitely had their ups and downs. I think Ada could have been happy with Lord Fintan, but fate would have things play out differently. Sebastian and Oliver have a long road ahead of them, so I'm hoping this isn't the last story. This family is finally starting to function as a unit and I'm excited to see what the future holds for all of them!